|Presented in 1" to 1 1/4" wide flakes, sliced fairly thin. Very moist, nearly black in color, and somewhat sticky. All of this is probably from the steam pressing. Presents an interesting, sweet aroma, but I am not able to precisely say what the flavoring agent reminds me of.
I have tried this both folded and stuffed into a pipe, and rubbed out. Rubbing out makes this a very fine cut ribbon, almost a shag. Either form benefits from some drying to ease lighting. I find this tobacco works very well in tall, narrower bowls, and I have a Peterson Lovat (size group 3) and a Barling billiard (about a group 2 or 3) that favor this blend very much. Contrarily, I smoke most flakes in fairly wide-bowled pipes, as this seems to be the best way to yield the most flavor for me.
The initial light yields a huge flavor! The flavoring agent is present, though not domineering in the RB-plug fashion. The topping is applied with far more restraint, and compliments rather than buries the extremely rich taste of the dark-fired tobaccos. This is not a soapy smoke at all, to me, but very sweet, and possessing an immensely rich, dark flavor. All bass notes, with some strong mid-range flavors, this tobacco is like molasses or brown sugar.
The secondary light was very even, and the smoke simply drives forward very easily from there. It is an easy smoke to keep going after a relight or two, and because the flavors are so strong, it is easy to smoke while doing something else. Also, I find that the bite-factor is almost non-existent. Usually this is the point where McClelland flakes bite me the hardest. Kendal flakes seem to be a bit more tame, especially the steam-pressed ones. I admit, I have never seen any other kind.
At the mid-point, the burn is very even and predictable. I would have to smoke this very hard to induce it to bite, and find this is also typical of my experience with Lakeland blends. The added flavor is much less pronounced at this point, and the native tobacco flavors dominate. This is my favorite part of a smoke after the initial light, where I feel a blend's true colors show.
Toward the bottom, the flavor is even more intense. The bowl is very easy to keep lit, despite the wetness, but there is the onset of some bitterness. I find this happens frequently wit fire-cured Malawi, I guess, as I don't find it as frequently in other blends from the USA and Germany. The ash is light grey, almost white, extremly fine, and powder-coats the bowl with a fine, thin, unform layer. I find this characteristic of Kendal blends, as well. Watch out for the nicotine at this point, as this blend is very strong.
On the whole, a very satisfying, rich, stout smoke. It answers very well after dinner, helping settle a meal admirably with strong coffee or a suitable adult libation. There are many other scented flakes that I loathe, but Coniston surprised me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 ounces of this I smoked. However, because their are many other blends I enjoy more (especially Kendal Plug), I doubt I'll keep this on hand in enough quantity to warrant more than an occasional smoke.